By Joseph M. Wilson, Jr., Attorney at Law
As the weather gets nicer, more motorcycles are on the roads. Motorcycles have the same rights and responsibilities that car and truck drivers do. Unfortunately, motorcycles can be harder to see and many crashes occur simply because the driver of the larger vehicle did not see the motorcycle.
Several events take place each spring and summer to remind us to Share the Road. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, where participants work to educate motorcycle riders with safety tips while reminding car and truck drivers that motorcyclists are out on the roads and to be aware. And the third Monday of each June is Ride to Work Day, when motorcycle riders are encouraged to ride their bikes in to work. Car and truck drivers should remember to actively look for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging into traffic. They should also leave extra stopping distance when following a bike, remembering that the motorcycle can stop more quickly than your car or truck.
Motorcycles do not offer the same protection as an enclosed car or truck, so the percentage of injuries seen is higher than in many other types of crashes. Here are some tips for motorcyclists from the U.S. government’s “Share the Road” program:
- Follow all traffic laws
- Take a motorcycle safety course
- Drive defensively – assume that car and truck drivers do not see you
- Position yourself in the lane where your bike will be visible to cars
- Do not ride when visibility is reduced
- Wear an approved helmet (see a video on how to choose a helmet)
- Wear reflective protective clothing and eye gear
- Do not take passengers with you until you have some solid experience on your bike
- Avoid distracted driving
- Watch the road for potholes or debris
- Never drive while drunk or otherwise impaired
Other Motorcycle Safety Resources:
Motorcycle Safety Foundation: http://www.msf-usa.org/
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles
Traffic Safety Facts for Motorcycles: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811159.PDF
If you are a motorcycle rider and have been injured by a negligent driver, contact a Merritt Webb auto accident attorney today for a free consultation.